Expungement and Deferred Action Immigration Policy

'DREAMers' Become Eligible After Expunging Criminal Records

Young undocumented people who are eligible for President Obama's Deferred Action policy, known as DREAMers, are now submitting applications to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Under the policy, undocumented young people who came to the United States before the age of 15, who have graduated or are currently attending school, and have no disqualifying criminal convictions are eligible to apply for a renewable two-year work permit and will be protected from deportation.

"applicants with juvenile adjudications and expunged criminal records of otherwise disqualifying offenses will be considered"

Young immigrants with felonies or even misdemeanors may be ineligible for the benefits of the program. Traditionally, even a single misdemeanor such as petty theft would disqualify someone from obtaining an immigration benefit. One single mistake often makes or breaks an immigration case. However, the USCIS has announced that applicants with juvenile adjudications and expunged criminal records of otherwise disqualifying offenses will be considered by the USCIS on a case-by-case basis.

Immigration attorney Isabel Cueva explained that this gives otherwise ineligible applicants a rare opportunity. “Before now, immigration law prevented the use of expungement of criminal records in determining eligibility for any immigration benefits. With this announcement, some young immigrants will be given a second chance, as long as their records do not reflect a risk for public safety.”

What if I Have a Disqualifying Criminal Conviction?

“For those with disqualifying criminal convictions, deferred action should not be completely ruled out”, Ms. Cueva says, “but extreme caution should still be followed. Although the treatment of expunged convictions is unique with Deferred Action, the grant or denial of this benefit is still discretionary. A qualified immigration attorney must look at all factors of the case to analyze all of the risks and benefits of going forward with the application.”

For those who have not yet cleared their criminal record, it is not too late. Attorney Mathew Higbee, founder of the national expungement firm RecordGone.com, states the average time to get a conviction expunged is about three months, depending on the state. With one call, the attorneys and staff at RecordGone.com can tell you whether you qualify for an expungement of your criminal record or you can just take our free online expungement eligibility test. Once the record is expunged, the door to deferred action will be wide open.

The Law Firm of Higbee and Associates is a good place to go for young immigrants with criminal convictions. The firm houses both a criminal expungement division and an immigration division to help these unique applicants..

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